We have two sets of Open Calls at the Journal of Trial and Error: a Call for Papers and a Call for Rejected Grant Applications. Both kinds of material are published continuously (‘rolling articles’) and will form the Second Issue of the Journal of Trial and Error, scheduled for Fall 2021.

Call for Papers

Journal of Trial and Error Companion Pieces: 

The Reform Movement in Science

It has been more than a decade since the replication crisis first sent the scientific community into a frenzy over the trustworthiness of published results. Since then, a scientific reform movement has emerged, whose goals are to increase the quality and trustworthiness of scientific output, and reform traditional systems which tend to engender a competitive and desperate scientific culture. 

The same issues in science that contributed to the replication crisis — questionable research practices and researcher degrees of freedom (such as p-hacking, cherry-picking and HARKing), publication bias and the publish-or-perish culture of academia, for instance — have existed for much longer than 10 years. While the replication crisis has shone a light on these problems, they are by no means a preserve of the current time. Metascientists have taken an active, empirical interest in the topic recently, however the issue has also been, and continues to be, explored by disciplines such as science and technology studies and philosophy of science.

The seeming intractability of some problems associated with the scientific method, and the simple, competitive nature of humans prompts the question of whether modern reforms can save objective scientific inquiry, or whether there is something fundamentally flawed with how science is conceived of and practiced.  

In a time of unprecedented skepticism, doubt, and criticism of the scientific enterprise, the Journal of Trial and Error (JOTE) is calling for two (2) papers (one each) defending (or critically engaging with) the following positions

  1. Science is an inherently pure and objective endeavour that is corrupted by bad actors, or bad elements in the system. Can science be salvaged through reform?
  2. Science is inherently corrupt. Has the reform movement taken responsibility for its purification?

Please contact the editors to indicate interest before starting work on your submission and to provide a proposal or outline of the submission. Editors are Sarahanne Field (field@jtrialerror.com), Sean Devine (devine@jtrialerror.com), and Stefan Gaillard (gaillard@jtrialerror.com).
The aim is to have the first drafts submitted by  20 December at 12:00AM(GMT). Manuscripts should be submitted through our submission portal following all author guidelines.

General Call for Submissions

We have an open call for two kinds of contributions:

Empirical Articles

With these pieces, authors illustrate conceptual developments based on empirical and experimental studies which have produced null, unexpected, negative or mixed results. JOTE also welcomes incomplete findings or those reports without a closed, cohesive narrative.

We welcome articles for all research disciplines: natural, life, and social sciences, and the humanities.

Meta-Research Articles

This category of articles illustrates the pluralism of approaches in studying research itself. Meta-science, Research on Research, Science Studies, General Philosophy of Science, Science of Science – these are different independent disciplines who produce original investigations on research, “its methods, reporting, reproducibility, evaluation, and incentives.” JOTE welcomes reports of methodological challenges, suggestions, or technical flaws that carry relevant information (advice on the do’s and don’ts) for the field to which they belong. As well, we welcome studies that deal with the processes of Trial and Error at a broader level, such as on publications biases or reproducibility.

We welcome articles for all research disciplines: natural, life, and social sciences, and the humanities.

Call for Rejected Grant Applications

We want to further our aim of looking at trial and error by also looking at rejection at the stage of grant applications. We believe that applications often suffer from a highly competitive system rather than a deficient proposal. We wrote a blog post on this topic, “The far-side of scientific funding: why you should publish your rejected grant applications”.

Our three main reasons for publishing (parts of) rejected grant applications are:

  1. Grant applications are valuable in and of themselves. Proposals are overviews of the state of the field in which the author(s) has/have identified a gap in knowledge.
  2. Grant applications are valuable to understand the past. They can be used as data to study the history of trends and biases in the process of awarding grants.
  3. Grant applications are valuable to shape the future of science. They can form a metadata collection that will keep us from losing valuable avenues of research by safekeeping ideas.

We see the first stage of this project as a dialogue with the authors. We are, therefore, very welcoming of remarks, suggestions, and questions. Please send these to us by email at jtrialerror@uu.nl.


Before submitting a manuscript, read carefully the information provided in the Author Guidelines. When you are ready, head over to our journal managment portal at submit.jtrialerror.com to start the submission process.